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Pope Francis Reaches Out to Flood Victims in South Sudan’s Malakal Diocese with Donation

Pope Francis greets pilgrims in St. Peter's Square on Feb. 26, 2020. Credit: Daniel Ibáñez/CNA.

Pope Francis has reached out to the people of God affected by floods in South Sudan’s Catholic Diocese of Malakal with an additional donation of US$30,000.00.

A Thursday, December 9 report by Vatican News indicates that “another 30,000 US dollars were recently sent by Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, Almoner of the Office of Papal Charities, further expressing the Pope's closeness to the people of South Sudan throughout this serious humanitarian emergency.”

“This comes in addition to the 75,000 US dollars already sent by the Pope last October,” the report further indicates.

In the report, “The Chargé d'Affaires of the Vatican Nunciature in South Sudan, Msgr. Ionut Paul Strejac has conveyed Pope Francis' closeness to the struggling nation with a gift of 30,000 US dollars for the people of the Diocese of Malakal.”

“This closeness was concretized on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, when Bishop Stephen Nyodho Ador Majwok, accompanied by the Vatican Nunciature's chargé d'affaires in South Sudan, Msgr. Ionut Paul Strejac, brought comfort through prayer and various urgently needed items to the stricken population,” the report further indicates. 

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Some of the items donated include plastic sheeting, blankets, sleeping mats, and tents.

At least 800,000 people have been affected by rising waters across South Sudan since May, according to a press release of the United Nations (UN). 

Villages, homes, roads, farms and markets have been covered by water, forcing families to move to higher grounds where they can find safety. Some have sought refuge in neighboring towns.

According to the December 9 news report, “Bentiu is home to the country's largest camp for displaced persons (IDPs). More than 120,000 people have found shelter in the camp, under UN auspices, since the civil war in 2013.”

In their August 2021 Humanitarian Snapshot, officials of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) said six States in South Sudan have been most affected by the floods. 

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The UNOCHA officials added that the humanitarian situation has been worsened by the incessant violence, food insecurity and COVID-19, which has reportedly infected 12,064 people in the country, among them 30 deaths and 11,617 recoveries. 

According to The New Humanitarian, South Sudan is experiencing its worst food crisis since it gained independence in July 2011.

On September 2, religious leaders in Western Equatoria State, one of the regions experiencing intercommunal violence, said the people of God who are experiencing “a great humanitarian tragedy” are in urgent need of food and medicine.

The faith-based leaders also condemned the violence that has reportedly led to the loss of at least 200 human lives.

In October, the Vatican sent $75,000 as an emergency response to the Diocese of Malakal. The Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development said the support was intended to express Pope Francis' closeness to the people.

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On the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception marked December 8, in Piazza di Spagna in Rome, Pope Francis, who has said that these people who are victims of war and climate change are close to his heart, raised his prayers to the Lord for them, the December 9 report indicates.